Day three and a promise

Day 3 of the cleanse brings a promise from me.

I promise to post about something else as soon as:

1) This cleanse thing is over; OR

2) I have a day where I forget to take photos; OR

3) I have a day in which I eat all stuff I’ve already posted about.

But in the meanwhile, here’s the food for day 3 of the cleanse.

Breakfast: Fried O’Brien potatoes, homemade ketchup, watermelon, and V-8


Lunch: Big salad with homemade sesame dressing (mixed up sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave nectar, grated fresh ginger, wheat-free tamari, and grated garlic to taste), topped with sesame salt; fresh cherries

Salad and cherries

Snacks: Nuts, seasoned seaweed, and Oh, so much fruit. More than I can show you here, but among the bounty was more watermelon. Also, white peaches so ripe it’s making my mouth water to tell you about them. And more cherries. And so on. Plus a latte made with decaf espresso and homemade soymilk. (The soymilk maker is still in the testing phase. I’m working on it.)

peaches, watermelon, and soy latte

Dinner: Tamale pie. The plan was for chili, but I was waffling on finding a good vegan, gluten-free cornbread, and James suggested I just make some more polenta, add olives to the chili, and make tamale pie. Those of you who’ve been around a while know that James is big on suggesting yummy and time-consuming things for me to make, so I was happy to oblige with this relatively quick and easy dish.

Tamale pie

I also added some olive oil and a fair bit of garlic and nutritional yeast to the polenta before pouring it over the chili (which I dished into the baking dish with a slotted spoon so it wouldn’t be too soupy). The chili is based on the Moosewood recipe that Susan V. adapts here, but I left out the bulgur and used some olive oil in the preparation.

So there it is. There’ll be more Mom Food when this is over. I promise!

Orange-glazed tofu

Orange-glazed tofu is the first in a 21-day series of vegan dinners. Come along, if you like. I don’t promise they’ll all be great, but you’ll get to see the variety of things available!

Super-easy, tasty dinner to start the cleanse thingy. I’ve been at my mom’s for a week, and we ate out almost every day. I’m home now, and it was actually kind of nice to make this simple, healthful meal for our first dinner of the cleanse.

orange tofu

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange-glazed tofu
Recipe type: Main dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6-7 oz. (1/2 package) firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces (no need to press)
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2-4 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly on the vertical
  • 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet.
  2. Add tofu, orange juice, agave nectar, salt, and rice vinegar. Stir gently to coat tofu with glaze, then cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until tofu begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Set tofu aside and rinse out the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, heat remaining oil. Add onions and broccoli and cook until onion is browned and broccoli is crisp-tender. Add tofu back in; cook and stir until heated through.
  4. Serve over rice.


OPMF: Kimchi

Mom Food from extended family members: this time, from Korean in-laws.

[If you’re visiting from SITS, welcome! And for those of you who don’t know what SITS is, it’s a blogger community (The Secret’s In The Support!) where I love to hang out and schmooze with other bloggers. Some of them may be visiting today. Be nice. Or if you can’t be nice, be funny and interesting and maybe they won’t notice.]

[OPMF = Other People’s Mom Food]

Remember the other day when I told you about my brother Rick and the Caesar salad he taught me to make? Well, that got me thinking about his family and what Mom Foods we’ve gotten from his wife’s side of the family.

Debbie, who we all love, is a wonderful sister-in-law to have. Her mother Bonnie came from Korea, so in the twenty or so years since my brother and she got together, her side of the family has added a couple of Korean Mom Foods to our repertoire around here. The carnivores among us love nothing better than Bonnie’s Korean ribs (galbi).

Galbi at Asahi
[Photo courtesy of Selena N. B. H.]

But me? I could eat her kimchi all day and half the night.

Kimchi, all done!

A week or two ago, I did a photo shoot at our local Korean grocery store (for Oakland Magazine — I’ll let you know when the article comes out), and I decided I needed to make kimchi. Goodness knows we spend enough money on the stuff at the store; why not try my own hand at it? I bought a nice container to ferment the stuff in, a big head of napa cabbage, a bucket of gochujang (red pepper paste), and I was off!

The red pepper paste

Homemade kimchi is a thing of delightment. I have never had store-bought that could touch Bonnie’s, and I probably will never make homemade that’s as good, but I finally decided to give it a shot. It was MUCH easier than I expected, and not fussy at all. I used Closet Cooking’s recipe as a starting point, but I had gochujang rather than gochugaru (red pepper flakes), so I hunted around the web and decided to use about 6 tablespoons of the paste in place of the cup of flakes. It might not be spicy enough for some people, but it was perfect for us. A little too salty, but I gathered from reading some recipes online that it will be less salty if instead of salting it directly next time, I soak it in salty water. We’ll see.

Here’s the cabbage before salting:

The raw cabbage, before salting

And here’s the same amount of cabbage after adding salt and time (and then rinsing/draining):

Cabbage after salting

Mix it all together:

All the kimchi ingredients in a bowlKimchi mixed together, before fermenting

Et voila!

Kimchi in the fermenting container

We left it out for about two and a half days to ferment, then stuck it in the fridge while we were out of town for a week. It was perfect when we opened it, minus the slightly too salty thing.

The joy of this for us is the almost carbonated sizzle you get from a newly opened batch of the stuff. It feels alive or something. This batch had that tingly feeling, and while it wasn’t nearly as good as Bonnie’s, it brought me some of that Mom Food joy, even though her kimchi is now 500 miles away, where I can’t get to it.

Ham with Freakin’ Awesome Sauce

Deviating from Mom Food. Shh! It’ll be our secret.

The kid says not to tell Nana she’s got a new favorite ham gravy (we call it “gravy” in our family, but sweet gravy seems odd, so I’ve been calling it sauce—what say you? Sweet gravy weird? Yes/No?).

On second thought, she says, go ahead and tell her—it’s great, but it’s not Nana Food.

My mom was a little put out when I called to ask her for ham advice. I wanted to know about time and temperature, but when she got to the pineapple gravy (I’ll post about that at some point), I stopped her and told her, sadly, “I never have liked that gravy, sorry. I’m going to make a ginger glaze instead.” For one thing, I hate hot pineapple, and for another, I loathe cloves (and most other warm spices like cumin and cinnamon). So I went my own way this time, and it actually may be the first time I’ve eaten baked ham that wasn’t cooked with pineapple. Here it is, in all its fatty glory:

baked ham with four-ginger glaze

I’m reluctant to post a recipe for this, since the reality was “I have several ginger things in my fridge—wonder what’ll happen if I heat them all together and make a glaze for the ham with them?” After I cooked the ham, I told the kid I didn’t have a name for the dish, but I was thinking “Ham with Four-Ginger Glaze”.

No, she said, this is Ham with Freakin’ Awesome Sauce

James's plate: ham, sauce, potatoes, salad, greensThe kid's plate: ham, potatoes, salad. She later added a cup of the sauce.My plate: ham, potatoes, greens, salad

[Our plates, left to right: James’s, with sauce in the blue bowl. The kid’s—she added gravy later, and hates greens. Mine (less meat, more veggies, please!) Click to embiggen, as Wil would say.]

The sauce is 1/4 cup ginger spread from the Ginger People, 1/4 cup pickled sushi ginger with its juice, a teaspoon ground ginger, two slices galangal (you could use fresh ginger), and 1 cup water. Boil 5 minutes, strain, boil until reduced enough to start getting sticky. Pour over ham in the last hour or so of cooking. After ham is cooked, thicken pan juices with cornstarch slurry.

For the greens: Have washed chopped greens ready, but don’t dry them; just let the water from the rinse stay on the leaves. I usually toss some salt in with them (and, optionally, garlic) to avoid having to find the salt shaker after everything starts popping. Use mustard greens or kale or whatever you like. This batch was curly mustard greens, a fave of ours. Heat olive oil and mustard seeds (a tablespoon of oil, a teaspoon of seeds, or to your taste) over a medium-high heat. The second the first mustard seed pops, toss in the greens and cook until mostly wilted. Then put the cover on the pot, turn down to low, and let them cook until they practically disappear, or until your other food is ready.

fresh mustard greens

The potatoes are just baked fingerlings.

And then I made a Caprese salad, but with Mexican queso, because that’s what I had handy, and it’s very much like a buttery mozzarella.

Caprese salad

Deviating from Mom Food can be fun sometimes, but don’t tell her I followed that up by making chickpea stew instead of split pea soup with the hambone. She’s had enough shocks for one week.